Package bombs go off in Chinese city; 7 killed and 51 hurt

People (right) surveying the aftermath of the explosions that hit Liuzhou city in China's south-western Guangxi region yesterday. A collapsed building (far right) after the blasts yesterday. At least 13 places, including hospitals, shopping malls and
People (above) surveying the aftermath of the explosions that hit Liuzhou city in China's south-western Guangxi region yesterday. A collapsed building after the blasts yesterday. At least 13 places, including hospitals, shopping malls and government offices, received the package bombs, local reports said, adding that a terrorist attack had been ruled out.PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
People (right) surveying the aftermath of the explosions that hit Liuzhou city in China's south-western Guangxi region yesterday. A collapsed building (far right) after the blasts yesterday. At least 13 places, including hospitals, shopping malls and
People surveying the aftermath of the explosions that hit Liuzhou city in China's south-western Guangxi region yesterday. A collapsed building (above) after the blasts yesterday. At least 13 places, including hospitals, shopping malls and government offices, received the package bombs, local reports said, adding that a terrorist attack had been ruled out.PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

At least seven people were killed, 51 others injured and two were missing as 17 package bombs exploded in Liuzhou city in the south-western Guangxi region, the latest in a string of violent knife and bomb attacks in China in recent years.

Police have identified the suspect as a 33-year-old male surnamed Wei and said the blasts were a "criminal" act, state media said, while local paper Nanguo Morning News said the suspect had been arrested.

At least 13 places - from hospitals and shopping malls to prisons, transport stations and town government offices - received the package bombs, local reports said, adding that a terrorist attack had been ruled out. Initial investigations showed explosives could have been placed inside express delivery packages, the official Xinhua news agency reported, and that the Ministry of Public Security has sent a team of experts to help in the probe.

State broadcaster CCTV cited a local police chief as saying that the blasts - which occurred on the eve of China's week-long National Day holiday - were caused by several different explosive devices.

Pictures showing a collapsed building, a plume of smoke and streets strewn with rubble were posted on CCTV's microblog. Vehicles were also damaged, witnesses said, according to Xinhua.

In recent years, several disgruntled Chinese citizens have bombed local government offices and public places in an attempt to bring attention to their grievances.

In 2013, for instance, a man set off a series of homemade bombs packed with ball bearings outside provincial government buildings in Taiyuan city in northern Shanxi province, killing at least one person and wounding eight. Xinhua said at the time he sought to "take revenge on society" but did not elaborate.

The same year, a street vendor set fire to a bus in eastern China's Fujian province, killing himself and nearly four dozen passengers in an act of retaliation against the local authorities.

China has also grappled with a spate of knife and bomb attacks targeting civilians at markets and train stations, particularly in the country's restive west, that Beijing blames on Islamic militants.

An assault in May last year on a market in Xinjiang region's capital Urumqi left more than 30 people dead, while knife-wielding assailants killed 29 people at a train station in the south-western city of Kunming in March the same year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2015, with the headline 'Package bombs go off in Chinese city; 7 killed and 51 hurt'. Print Edition | Subscribe